Unruly just did a study on alcohol and video, two of many people’s favorite things.  Specifically, they studied what the alcohol industry is doing right, and where they might need improvement.  The interesting statistic that comes out of this is that 97 percent of the shares across the social web came from 4 ads.  That’s ridiculous!  Of that 97 percent, 59.2 of it comes from the Budweiser “Brotherhood” ad.  So major room for improvement in the alcohol industry.  Beer continues to do well, spirits increased their social video presence, and wine is still living in the dark ages.

What Can Alcohol Learn From the Unruly Study

First, let’s look at the top 10 alcohol ads and a few examples before we dive into what alcohol needs to do:

alcohol ads

Also, Neft Vodka is at number two, but you probably didn’t know it was an ad for Neft, because it’s a music video from Biting Elbows with a passing visual of Neft during a huge POV action chase.  By the way, if you want to watch this video, it has tons of graphic violence and some bad language in it:

Budweiser “Brotherhood” has been talked about for 5 straight months.  It’s one of the top stories in video this year.  We’ve also talked about the Carlsberg (“Puts Friends to the Test”) ad, which also goes to extremes to push its product:

The only other one that made a dent is Heineken’s “The Candidate,” which definitely has the same prankish spirit:


Spirits cut into beer’s dominance in the alcohol video market in Q1.  Beer, which enjoyed a 97 percent market share, was whittled down to 75 percent by spirits, which went from 3 to almost 25 in just one quarter.  Most of that has to do with the Neft Vodka ad, though, and I’ll remind, it’s basically a music video without much awareness that it’s actually an ad.  So spirits still have work to do.  Without that particular ad, they’d also still be way down.  Wine really never has embraced video.  They’re at 0.3% of the market share.

Ian Forrester, Unruly Insight Director:

The research found that some of the big alcohol brands – and subsectors – are vastly underperforming in social video.  For wine and spirit brands, the opportunity to increase brand awareness and sales conversion rates through social video is huge, as there has been very little mass movement from these brands in creating shareable video content. Additionally, leading brands like Diageo and SAB Miller that have very strong market share are lagging behind competitors when it comes to social video share of voice.

Unruly Tips for Alcohol Brands

Unruly has some advice to give alcohol when creating an ad:

  • They don’t have to rely solely on humor (witness the Budweiser “Brotherhood” ad)
  • Combine hilarity and surprise, but don’t confuse people during the “prankverts” (prank advertising).
  • Be realistic about the impact of celebrities in videos
  • Create an ad that speaks to your business and doesn’t go too far to damage reputation.
  • Produce long-form content.

Long-Form Content Better Than Short-Form?

Only 1 ad in the top 10 of Q1 was 30 seconds long: Beck’s “Sapphire.”  The average length of these ads is 2 minutes and 16 seconds.

The reason length matters is that you can tell a story.  With the top 4 ads on the chart, we have an emotional story about a man and his horse, the two “extreme” ads with the first-person shooter music video and the “friends bail their friends out of a bad situation” video, and then there’s the Heineken “Candidate” ad, which is good old-fashioned prankvertising.  They all want to tell a story that engages and will most likely be shared.  You don’t want to share a typical ad with your friends, you want to share something that is worthy of being talked about.

For more info from the Unruly study, click here.